Several years ago, I gave little thought to eyeshadow finish. I made my purchases based on color—usually variations on grey, lavender, and pale pinkish ivories—and I tended to use the same two eyeshadows every day.
No, that was NOT a typo. If I owned more than six eyeshadows before 2008, I'd be surprised.
I have always been drawn to matte finishes, for their subtlety (as in, absence of glitter) and because my lids used to be oily. To this day, I remain an eyeshadow color minimalist—jewel tones, vibrants, and deep hues look weird on me—but even with a collection of goof-proof neutral colors, I can still spend 10 minutes applying and blending 2-3 different "colors" to make it look as though I am not wearing any eye makeup at all. It's hard to achieve the same result with a metallic finish.
The eyelid oil that once showed up daily by 10 AM has all but dried up (except in summer), so I find myself shopping much less often for matte eyeshadows because as irony would have it, I want some of that youthful glow back—the same oil I used to attack hourly with powder and blotting papers.
The search for The Youthful Glow means I now look at formula and finish along with the color. Too much shimmer might as well shine a spotlight on crepey skin. Too matte and my lids can look chalky, ashen, and dry. Some cream eyeshadows can actually suck all the moisture out of my skin, making it look like crumpled tissue paper. So my shadow collection orbits around satin and creamy matte finishes these days. That might change but that's what I use now.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite eyeshadow brands, which happen to be very forgiving to maturing eyes:
Rouge Bunny Rouge. I love this brand's matte and semi-matte formulas, which are so rich, finely milled, and luminous they hardly feels like powder. There is no fallout, the color stays true all day without creasing, and the finish gleams without ever looking dusty or dry.
Chantecaille. Their Shine finish is sheer, luminous, layerable, available in beautiful colors, and imparts a glowy sheen. My favorites are Perle and Meteorite. All three Chantecaille formulas are very nice, but I prefer the Shine for the subtle glow that never looks aging.
Becca. The demi-matt formula is glorious. You won't (currently) find exciting pops of color in this line, but you will find a beautiful selection of realistic, skin-tone colors. I love to wear Chantilly (a dusty lavender greige) as an allover base.
Laura Mercier. It isn't as common to see Mercier products reviewed on blogs, not compared to other brands. I am not sure why that is, because she offers some of the prettiest, most wearable colors in excellent formulas. Her Sateen eyeshadow finish is excellent for maturing lids, and it comes in gorgeous, subtle colors. Personal favorites are Sable and Stellar. Alas, her matte formula is not kind to my eyelid skin.
Bobbi Brown. This line deserves an honorable mention even though most of her eyeshadows are too warm on me. With Bobbi Brown's neutrals, it's all about nuance. I've had decent luck with the Shimmerwash finish (Sterling and Rock) and I like the pearly sheen this formula leaves.
Do you shop based on color or collection, or do you care primarily about the finish of your eyeshadows?
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